The power of the oceans and the discipline they enforce on those 'who go down to the sea in ships, and do business in great waters' are enduring challenges for navies. 1 While human ingenuity and advances in technology have increased our knowledge of the maritime environment, the safe and assured operation of ships at sea still requires skill, experience and courage. Admiral Prazuck's elegant essay on the unique nature of a ship's crew reminds us the challenges posed by sea service are shared by many nations.
Common challenges are the basis for a shared outlook and a motivation to develop habits of cooperation. These habits, underpinned by routine communication, engender mutual understanding and trust. While these skills, these habits, are recognisable in any good ship's crew, they are also recognisable in any good relationship between nations. Just as they enable a crew to weather a storm or a battle, they enable nations to avoid conflict and find common cause. Perhaps this is one reason why navies have such utility as instruments of diplomacy. More than anything else, Admiral Prazuck focuses us on people, because whether we look at nations or ship's crews, companies or universities, it is ultimately the people who matter.
1 Psalm 107:23